From the CEO

The alarm bells are ringing increasingly louder amongst our industry. Worker shortages & supply chain impacts have been an issue for some months but are now resulting in projects being significantly delayed or shelved. Combined with a rental vacancy rate in Perth of 0.7% and only 6,500 established properties on the market, even if we had open borders these desperately needed workers would struggle to find a home.

You, our members, have responded to our COVID-19 Pulse Check Survey reinforcing the dire situation we are facing. 75% of respondents have stated that these issues will have a high impact and delay projects. Not great news for industry, not great news for home buyers or renters.

Col Dutton and I met with Ministers Carey and Saffioti on Tuesday morning to discuss these challenges and the number one issue of ensuring adequate housing supply. The Ministers were highly responsive and attuned to the concerns and are keen to work with UDIA and our members to do what is necessary to minimise the inevitable impacts as we head towards the perfect storm.

The UDIA WA Council, Strategic Committees, Advisory Groups and team are formulating a plan of attack to limit the damage as we speak. Please feel welcome to contact me with your queries or concerns and stay safe.

COVID-19 Pulse Check Survey Results

Last week UDIA WA conducted a quick ‘pulse check’ survey of members to get a clear understanding of the current industry challenges and expectations, particularly in relation to the extended state border restrictions.

While not surprising, the results show there is increasing uncertainty around market expectations in the coming months and our members are facing immense challenges in relation to the availability and access to skilled workers and material costs.

In short, the results show:

  • Over 80% of businesses are impacted by the availability and access to skilled workers;
  • 80% of respondents say that increased material costs are having a high or medium impact on their business;
  • 75% state that these issues will have a high or medium impact in terms of delaying projects.
  • Over 50% of respondents expect new land sales to fall in the next 6-12months
  • Over 50% of respondents expect new apartment sales to fall in the next 0-3 months and 3-6 months

UDIA WA will use these results as clear evidence of the impact of government border control policies and to advocate for greater certainty in decision making.  We need a clear plan for how we are going to get the necessary skilled labour into the state in the immediate term.

Industry is also seeking greater certainty in relation to the approvals process moving forward, specifically for major projects with the imminent winding up of the State Development Assessment Unit.

Housing supply and affordability are going to remain at the centre of our advocacy focus this year as we work through these challenges and collaborate with stakeholders to address the constraints in the pipeline.

Pre-Budget Submission lodged with the Federal Treasurer the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP

UDIA National have lodged a comprehensive Pre-budget Submission to Federal Treasurer the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP which builds on the UDIA National Policy Platform, Resilience. Recovery. Reform.  …building the economic bridge to recovery.

The Submission outlines initiatives for a national housing strategy to incentivise states to develop deep, substantive plans that boost supply, streamline planning systems and reduce the cost of building a house.

Adopting UDIA National’s recommendations will further underpin Australia’s recovery after two incredibly challenging years by addressing critical underlying issues that have been allowed to ferment for many years prior.

The six policy priorities are:

  1. Turbocharge Housing Supply and Choice – measures to incentivise land/housing supply targets, better taxation reform and bolstering NHFIC’s mandate to create affordable and social housing.
  2. Durable Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Delivery – measures to better plan and coordinate infrastructure and cities.
  3. Streamline Environmental Approvals – measures to improve the administration and effectiveness the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).
  4. Make Planning Systems Work Effectively – measures that give NHFIC a mandate to measure performance of State and Local planning and regulatory systems, and with the Federal Government to incentivise planning targets.
  5. Post-Pandemic Population Planning – measures to plan and coordinate net overseas migration that close the population growth gap caused by the pandemic.
  6. Keep Credit Available – measures to expand the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and design a government finance reference group that monitors the health of the market.

UDIA looks forward to working with the Government and National Cabinet to continue building Australia’s economic recovery.

The full submission is available on the UDIA National website here.

UDIA Standing Advisory Group’s in full swing

It’s been an intensive week of policy priority setting this week with six of UDIA’s standing advisory groups meeting this week, Regulation and Taxation, Infrastructure, Climate Action, Built-form, Urban Water and Community Education and Engagement.

There was a lot of consistency in the key challenges identified across the groups, with unsurprisingly the limited supply of skilled labour and security of material supply and cost increases featuring heavily in discussions.

A wide range of ideas and solutions to tackle these pressing issues and longer-term industry challenges were discussed. UDIA WA is excited about working with our Advisory Group members to prepare and deliver more detailed actions to enhance the liveabilty of our urban centres and suburbs and the health and vibrancy of our economy and environment.

Very high caseload environment critical worker definition and protocols

At the end of last week Premier Mark McGowan announced new definitions of a critical worker for when Western Australia enters into a very high caseload environment and new testing and isolating protocols take effect.

The critical worker definition is vital to maintain critical services and avoid catastrophic losses, such as loss of life, ongoing access to care and essential goods and workplace safety, however it will only take effect when WA reaches a very high caseload environment, triggered by epidemiological and outbreak response, subject to the latest health advice.

The definition of a critical worker in WA is someone whose role cannot be undertaken at home who:

  • performs a role that is critical to the COVID-19 response, or continuation of critical services that prevent significant harm (e.g. loss of life, catastrophic impacts to safety or welfare, lack of access to essential goods) to an individual or the community; or
  • performs a role that is necessary for the safe continuation of services and/or has specialist skills in one of the following industries:
  • transport, freight and logistics, including public transport;
  • food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing, supply and retail (e.g. supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies);
  • petrol stations and truck stops;
  • agriculture (for the purpose of food supply and biosecurity);
  • critical resources including mining, power, utilities and waste management services;
  • building and construction;
  • corrective and judicial services;
  • police and emergency services;
  • schools and childcare (refer to specific protocols for these particular settings);
  • health care services;
  • social assistance and residential care;
  • veterinary services;
  • defence; and
  • funeral, crematorium and cemetery services.

These critical workers will be required to follow the new testing and isolating protocols if a close contact:

  • if symptomatic, follow symptomatic close contact protocols;
  • if asymptomatic, and you are required to work for continuity of operations, you must have a negative RAT daily;
  • wear a surgical mask outside your home, use other PPE where possible, and travel alone, if possible;
  • when not at work, you must self-isolate;
  • if symptoms ever develop, you must follow symptomatic close contact rules;
  • if a RAT is positive, you must follow confirmed positive case protocols.

Workplaces will be required to determine the number of critical roles, based on the State Government’s guidelines.

Employers must register this information with the State Government. An online registration system will be developed ahead of these settings coming into place.

For the full list of defined critical workers and for more information, visit: here.

RBA maintains cash rate for another month

At its first Monetary Policy Meeting for 2022, the Reserve Bank of Australia chose to retain the cash rate target at its record low of 0.1% but announced it would end its quantitative easing policy by ceasing further purchases under the bond purchase program.

In announcing the decision RBA Governor Philip Lowe said that while the Omicron outbreak has affected the economy, it has not derailed the economic recovery with the Australian economy remaining resilient and spending expected to pick up as case numbers trend lower.

“The RBA’s central forecast is for GDP growth of around 4¼% over 2022 and 2% over 2023,” Dr Lowe said. “This outlook is supported by household and business balance sheets that are in generally good shape, an upswing in business investment, a large pipeline of construction work and supportive macroeconomic policy settings.”

Dr Lowe also pointed to the low unemployment figures recorded in December and the high numbers of job vacancies suggesting further gains in employment over the months ahead. The RBA’s central forecast is for the unemployment rate to fall to below 4% later in the year and to be around 3¾% at the end of 2023. In a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was his goal for unemployment to start with a 3 this year, with the second half of the year the likely target.

Dr Lowe said inflation has picked up more quickly than the RBA had expected, but remains lower than in many other countries, with the headline CPI inflation rate at 3.5%, which is being affected by higher petrol prices, higher prices for newly constructed homes and the disruptions to global supply chains. In underlying terms, inflation is 2.6%.

“The central forecast is for underlying inflation to increase further in coming quarters to around 3¼%, before declining to around 2¾% over 2023 as the supply-side problems are resolved and consumption patterns normalize,” he said.

Dr Lowe finished by stating the Board is committed to maintaining highly supportive monetary conditions to achieve its objectives of a return to full employment in Australia and inflation consistent with the target.

“Ceasing purchases under the bond purchase program does not imply a near-term increase in interest rates,” he said. “As the Board has stated previously, it will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3% target range.

“While inflation has picked up, it is too early to conclude that it is sustainably within the target band. The Board is prepared to be patient as it monitors how the various factors affecting inflation in Australia evolve.”

While it is too early for the RBA to predict what the next few months will entail UDIA WA are delighted to be joined by economic expert Jonathan Pain for our February Luncheon on 18 February. Mr Pain’s economic predictions have previously been eerily accurate so this luncheon is a must-attend event for anybody interested in what the next few months might have in store. Register to attend here.

NatureMap Updates

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) recently notified UDIA WA that as of 5pm Thursday 17 December 2021, NatureMap was taken offline as it may be affected by a critical security issue affecting IT systems worldwide.

DBCA were keen to note that this vulnerability has not resulted in any breach to DBCA data systems or compromise of underlying NatureMap data, however this situation will pose some challenges until the Biodiversity Information Office (BIO) has established the new data repository platform for Western Australian biodiversity information and is able to provide the functionality that was previously available through NatureMap.

The DBCA said completion of this work is a McGowan Government priority, and it is anticipated that biodiversity information will be available through the new BIO platform by mid-2022.

In the interim, if you cannot obtain suitable data through the Atlas of Living Australia portal, please send requests for data that would previously have been obtained via NatureMap, to:; or

Please note that you will not be charged for data requests that would have previously been obtained through NatureMap, although data searches for conservation-listed occurrences (threatened, priority or specially protected species and ecological communities), will continue to be charged as before.

The DBCA thanks everyone for their patience while they work towards provision of a greatly improved platform for accessing the State’s biodiversity information.

Wildlife wellbeing survey

The University of Western Australia is conducting a new survey looking the impact of wildlife in our backyards and whether it has an impact on a person’s wellbeing.

They are looking to investigate whether wildlife & wildlife friendly gardening have biodiversity & human wellbeing benefits, with the survey set to take around 10 minutes to complete.

For more information and complete the survey, click here.

Launch of Australia’s largest connected microgrid

This week Energy Minister Bill Johnston launched the $15 million Kalbarri microgrid – the largest of its kind in Australia.

Using entirely renewable wind and solar energy, the microgrid will provide greater power reliability for local tourism and retail operations, and for the broader community.

The microgrid will be able to supply five megawatts (MW) at peak capacity with a 2MW battery that will be able to provide at least 3.5MW of energy storage. This will provide the town with more power reliability and will significantly reduce the number of outages caused by the town’s location at the end of the long Geraldton feeder line.

Microgrids are increasingly being used as a more resilient method to deliver electricity to rural communities as the design is less likely to be interrupted by environmental factors.

Western Power developed the Kalbarri microgrid in partnership with Synergy, the Shire of Northampton and the local community.

This week Energy Minister Bill Johnston also announced new measures to protect the electricity grid from outages following WA’s rapid solar uptake which has seen 3,000 homes installing rooftop solar panels each month.

Last year, WA households added 191 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity to their rooftops bringing the total amount of residential solar capacity in the South West Interconnected System to 1,362MW.

More than 400,000 WA homes and businesses, around 36% of customers, now have rooftop solar connected to WA’s main grid.

The collective capacity of residential solar generation exceeds the gross output capacity of WA’s largest power station – Synergy’s 854MW Muja Power Station.

To enable the continued uptake of rooftop solar panels on WA homes and avoid blackouts, the McGowan Government has introduced a range of policies, products and initiatives.

This includes the new Emergency Solar Management rules which start on February 14, WA’s biggest battery in Kwinana, community battery storage trials and virtual power plants.

For more information, click here.

Updated requirements for entering UDIA WA office

As Perth, Peel and beyond begin to experience an increase in Omicron cases due to community transmission, it is more critical than ever to ensure that UDIA WA takes all the necessary steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

The WA State Government has mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for many Western Australian workplaces. Further to consultation and endorsement from UDIA WA Staff and Council, UDIA WA has implemented a new COVID-19 Vaccine Policy that requires all workers and visitors to be fully vaccinated prior to entering the workplace premises in Subiaco. This means that all personnel conducting work at the UDIA WA workplace must have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

From 31 January 2022, all visitors to the UDIA WA workplace (Level 1, 3 Wexford Street, Subiaco) will be required to allow a staff member from UDIA to sight their vaccination status or proof of exemption. Anyone who doesn’t show evidence when requested will be denied entry.

In line with Western Australian government health directions, our event venues could also start to introduce mandatory entry requirements.

Crown Perth have stated that as of 31 January 2022 all visitors (aged 18 years and over) to the Casino and Pearl Room and visitors (aged 16 years and over) to all other venues including hotels, Crown Spa and events and conferencing facilities must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Crown Perth will request official proof of vaccination or medical contraindication certificate for guests wishing to gain access to these venues. Entry will be denied if official proof of vaccination or a medical contraindication certificate cannot be presented.

Please ensure you keep an eye on our event pages for any venue entry mandates and proof of vaccination requirements.

Please note that in line with the State Government policy, the requirement to manage the COVID-19 vaccinations for your organisation’s personnel solely resides with your organisation.

Further information from the State Government can be accessed via the following link here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Access to UDIA WA website changed

Access to the UDIA WA website recently changed as part of our aim to provide exceptional member services.

UDIA WA has invested in new technology that will integrate our member database with our website and online event registration capabilities with our new UDIA WA online Community Portal providing our members with seamless, integrated services and up to date information at the click of a button.

As part of the change all login details for the website were removed and each member organisation’s Key Representative was granted access initially and the Key Representative can now provide access to a further 2 representatives for their organisation.

All the necessary information was emailed to Key Representatives last week and can be accessed here for more information.

Once active the UDIA WA Community Portal includes exclusive member only access to:

  • Urban Express weekly news
  • The Urbanist quarterly magazine
  • The Urban Development Index quarterly market update
  • The Urban Intelligence economic data report
  • UDIA WA Members Directory listing details of all UDIA WA members
  • UDIA WA Diversity Toolkit
  • Relevant governance documents including the UDIA WA Annual Reports and Constitution
  • Ability to update you and your organisations details

For more information or any queries, email